The Shepherd was meant to be a gift for my 50th birthday, but it ended up being so much more.
I found the painting while visiting a friend in our new local hospital. They have a small gallery of local artists' work. When I rounded a corner and saw it for the first time, I was mesmerized. A small flock of sheep were led down a tree-lined path by their shepherd, while a sneaky fox peeked out from behind a nearby tree.
Never leaving my memory for long, I contemplated the painting and its meaning. I even dreamt of walking down that tree-lined pathway. The price was very dear, so I knew it was not meant for me to own this beautiful work of art.
When February 2012 came, I had my usual well-woman exam and mammogram. However, the breast exam showed abnormalities, so I had to have a follow-up needle biopsy. Being diagnosed with breast cancer on my 50th birthday was a bit of a cruel joke. Honestly, I can't remember much about the rest of that day. There was definitely no party.
Let's get real. I'm not a perfect Christian, not a perfect wife, not a perfect mother. When you read what I put in my blog posts, you get only a small snapshot of my life.
Fact: I have battled cyclical depression most of my adult life. Since I am high-functioning, most people don't know if they see me in person. Throwing myself into work and other projects helps me cope.
Fact: One of my daughters has not spoken to me since May 2015. I miss her deeply, love her unconditionally and wish her only the best. The pain of that loss is profound.
Fact: The struggle I have with self-worth is constant and stressful. You can tell when it's getting the best of me when my hair is uncut for months, nails are bitten short and weight is up. I simply don't feel I am worthy.
Before you start thinking I've boarded the Self-Pity Train, let me assure you--I still have hope. It's a tiny glimmer some days, but I know He won't let me down.
Whoa. I did not expect all the feedback from last week's blog post. This week, I want to tell you why I wrote what I did.
Lately, when readers comment on my posts, they say it was great, or they needed to hear it. The ones I really cringe at are "You're such a good Christian," or "You know so much about the Bible."
While I strive to be closer to God, I'm no saint. I don't want to be held up as a paragon to anyone. Maturing in the faith is what I want to accomplish. We all have our own journey.
The tiny glimmer of hope I wrote about last week has become a bit stronger. My daughter and I spoke yesterday and we have plans to visit again in a few months. Because I want to honor and respect her privacy, this is the last time I will write about our relationship on the blog.
Dear readers and friends, thank you for your spiritual intervention on my behalf. I have felt these prayers in my soul.